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In the Name of God: The Extremely, Eternally, and Everlastingly Loving and Caring

In a famous saying of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), it is said that the Devil and his minions are chained during the month of Ramadan, which is almost half way done at this point. Thus, the believer is spared from his constant and unrelenting whispers and temptations. While this is a good thing, it does leave open one disconcerting implication: any evil thoughts or actions during Ramadan can no longer be attributed to the Devil. They are all ours to own.

In fact, I have a big problem with the retort that “the Devil made me do it,” whenever one is confronted with their mistakes. The Devil does not make anyone do anything. He is quoted as saying this very thing in the Qur’an:

And when everything will have been decided, Satan will say: “Behold, God promised you something that was bound to come true! I, too, held out [all manner of] promises to you – but I deceived you. Yet, I had no power at all over you: I but called you, and you responded to me. Hence, do not blame me, but blame your own selves… (14:22)

Whenever we want to blame the Devil for the things we have done, he will sell us out every time. We have to take responsibility for all the evil we have wrought. The Devil is not a puppeteer that controls our every moves. He is only an evil whisperer – a weak one at that – and we are the ones who choose to heed his evil suggestions.

But now, with the Devil being chained in Ramadan, we will have to come to terms with our true selves. And we may not be very happy with whatever base desires that our own selves may conjure.

Yet, that is the whole purpose of the fast of Ramadan. It is an opportunity for us to get to know our true selves and – armed with the spiritual power of fasting, prayer, and reflection – learn to overcome those temptations and make ourselves better people. And when Ramadan is over, and the Devil returns to his evil whispering, all the fasting and prayer we have done will make us steadfast in the face of his temptations. This can only be a good thing, and it will make all those long hours of hunger and thirst worth it.

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